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One Practice = One Concept

Coach over-reaches at the first practice after the season opener. Wife rolls eyes in response.

A friend of mine has a daughter on “pre-travel” soccer team with a parent coach. We’ve chuckled over the enthusiasm with which the coach sends out emails to the parents and organizes events, wants to add additional practices and treats those U8 girls like a top flight U17 club. On several occasions, I must have rolled my eyes and noted that he seems to be way over the top.

And then I ran yesterday’s basketball practice, our first since Saturday’s game. During those 60 minutes, I attempted to review proper ball handling, review pivoting, teach a spin move, work on defensive stance and footwork, teach the v-cut and facing up to the basket, teach how to box out, review proper form for a layup, run a fast-break drill, and finally, free throws.

The girls kept asking, “When can we scrimmage?”

On the way home, my daughter gave the practice a so-so rating but struggled to describe why or even come up with what we had covered. The one thing that did stick was the fact that “we didn’t get to play”.

“Play”? But there was so much to work on, I thought. How do we combat illegal screens that won’t be called? We’ll need to rebound better! We’ve got to be more organized on defense and on fast breaks! Scrimmaging can wait. In fact, I wonder if I should do two practices a week. No one in the gym after us on Tuesdays … could I extend it another 30 minutes? I actually asked my wife if 30 minutes before a game was too early for ask the kids to be there. To her credit, my lovely wife rolled her eyes at me and told me to chill out.

I have little more sympathy for the enthusiastic U8 coach. I’m not projecting my own glory days on these kids. I’m not a win-at-all-costs coach. I just want to instruct and there is so much to teach …

But we’ll just chill out. One practice, One concept. Eight more weeks is eight more concepts. Our last game is going to be awesome! By then, we’ll have matching warm-ups and an NBA-style spotlight-and-thumping bass chest-bumping intro routine for the starters. Now THAT will be over the top.

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